Brave the crowds on Boxing Day?

Canada’s biggest shopping day is circled on the calendars of many Canadians, with the majority of Canadians (62 per cent) planning to shop on Boxing Day this year, according to a BMO poll released today.

According to the BMO poll, conducted by Pollara:

  • One-in-five (22 per cent) plan to shop for themselves, while another third (34 per cent) will spend on items for both themselves and others
  • Alberta, Atlantic Canada and Ontario will see the most spending activity on Boxing Day (76 per cent, 72 per cent and 69 per cent respectively) while Quebec will see the least (36 per cent) (British Columbia is 68 percent and Manitoba/Saskatchewan is 62 per cent.)
  • Men are more likely than woman to take advantage of Boxing Day sales (66 per cent versus 58 per cent respectively)

Overall, Canadians plan to spend an average of $1,610 on the holidays this year (includes gifts, travel, entertainment and decorations).

Su McVey, Vice President, BMO Bank of Montreal, noted that while Boxing Day is a great opportunity to take advantage of deeply discounted items, not accounting for spending during this period can cause some to spend outside of their means and keep them from staying within their holiday budgeting parameters.

“Boxing Day is treated by many as a shopping holiday in Canada, and is as big as Black Friday in the U.S.,” says Ms. McVey. “Given that the majority of Canadians plan to spend during this period, it’s essential that Boxing Day spending is accounted for in the overall household holiday spending budget and not treated as a financial after-thought.”

Ms. McVey added that three-in-ten (29 per cent) Canadians set a fixed budget for their holiday spending, while half (47 per cent) set a loose or flexible budget, and two-in-ten (21 per cent) do not set a budget for holiday shopping.

Boxing Day is an important period for Canadian retailers, as it represents one of the biggest sales days on the calendar year. BMO Economics projects Canadian holiday retail sales receipts, excluding auto and gasoline sales, will be almost $60 billion.

This represents an increase of between one and two per cent year-over-year – or a rise of between $600 million and $1.2 billion – during the November to December sales period.

“While the projections for year-over-year increases in holiday sales are modest, it should still be viewed as positive for retailers in Canada, and is certainly well above levels seen during the recent economic downturn of 2008,” said Doug Porter, Deputy Chief Economist, BMO Capital Markets.

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